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National Restaurant Association - NRA, WFF host regional leadership event

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NRA, WFF host regional leadership event

As part of its continuing commitment to advocating for diversity in the workplace, the National Restaurant Association recently partnered with the Women’s Foodservice Forum to host that group’s Mid-Atlantic regional event in Washington, D.C.

The July 23 networking and education meeting, called “Driving for Results,” was attended by 70 men and women representing various foodservice companies in the area. It featured a panel discussion with NRA president and CEO Dawn Sweeney, Sodexo COO and education market president Lorna Donatone, and iRicchi Restaurant president and NRA director emerita Chris Ricchi. The three offered tips and strategies on how to be seen as a leader and develop personal skills to achieve success. The WFF’s Gretchen Sussman moderated the session.

“It’s important to be clear about your goals and what success looks like from the beginning,” Sweeney said. “That clarity helps you assess your own performance and that of others.”

She also noted that her own motivation to succeed comes from the industry itself and the people who are a part of it. “The restaurant industry is full of passionate, engaged, dedicated people with great hearts,” she said. “You have to come through for them.”

Veteran restaurateur Ricchi credited her participation on the NRA board for helping to boost her career.

“Being an NRA director opened up my world,” she said.

The panelists all agreed that women are uniquely positioned to lead with empathy.

“We sometimes forget that businesses are run by people,” Donatone said.

In June, the NRA and WFF teamed up to offer educational resources to help ensure the industry continues to attract and produce the best and brightest business leaders for its future. The educational offerings will be available through the NRA’s eLearning platform.

According to the WFF, individuals who develop their leadership skills early in their careers tend to advance sooner than those who do not.

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